Choosing Faith

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

In carrying over from Earl’s thoughts yesterday, I find myself in a bit of a waiting game with the Lord.  I’m under tremendous pressure to accomplish something at work involving an outside company by a certain date.   The ball is in the other company’s court and has been since Friday and absolutely nothing has happened since then.  In my schedule of things that need to happen by certain dates – a.k.a. “my thoughts and my ways” (see verse 8) – they are completely behind schedule and no matter how much I try, I can’t get them to get moving.

Clearly, I need His help with these circumstances admittedly beyond my control.   My plans are not His plans.  My thoughts are not His thoughts.

Hebrews 11:1-3  (NKJV)

11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

…the worlds were framed by the word of God.”  He is in control.  I am not.  I guess this is where faith kicks in..  Rephrase – I guess this is where I choose faith.

Ephesians 6:10-18  (The Message)

A Fight to the Finish

10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

The New King James Version says in v11 “… and having done all, to stand.”  I’ve done all I can do.  Now I stand.  I chose faith.  I choose faith in God and all that He is and all that He has proven to be.  I choose to have faith in the character of Him who never changes.  I’m choosing faith.

God was not taken by surprise…

Numbers 8:1-4 (NKJV)

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “Speak to Aaron, and say to him, ‘When you arrange the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.’ ” 3 And Aaron did so; he arranged the lamps to face toward the front of the lampstand, as the Lord commanded Moses. 4 Now this workmanship of the lampstand was hammered gold; from its shaft to its flowers it was hammered work. According to the pattern which the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.

It hit me today as I was reading this passage that the LORD knew every detail of how he wanted his tabernacle – every detail, from structure to the way the contents were arranged… hammered gold flower details on the lamp stands… where he wanted them to be located … how HE wanted them to be arranged.

The last half of v4 says “According to the pattern which the LORD had shown to Moses…”  So God had this all designed in every detail and then showed it to Moses at the appropriate time.

1 Cor 6:19 says that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. It is comforting to know that this Holy Spirit is the same God of the Old Testament who designed and arranged every detail of of the Mosaic temple. How much more does he want to design and arrange every detail of his new testament, post-crucifixion temple in you and me (Jer 29:11)?  If He was that attentive to every detail of the Tabernacle, he is still that attentive to every detail of my life, because he is the same God yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8) and He is incapable of change (Mal 3:6, James 1:16-18).

It is comforting to know, as a dear friend puts it, “God was not taken by surprise by this…” He already knows how whatever is going on is going to turn out.

It’s my job to be like Moses and spend time in His presence every day – getting my marching orders, receiving from Him how he wants to arrange the contents of my tabernacle, spending much time listening to Him and sharing what He has said with the people God has put in front of me.

Thank you Lord for authoring every detail of my life.  Thank you for not being surprised by the events that unfold each day.  Help me to hear you clearly – face to face – so that I might know how to arrange the articles of my temple and steward the plans you have made.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Running After Papa…

Overcoming (Rev 12:11)

I was listening to Overcome by Jon Egan and the Desperation Band.  The following verse is a bridge that’s sung over and over in the song.  As I was worshiping, the words of this verse really came alive and began to speak to me.

Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

So how do we overcome?

1. The blood of the Lamb

This is the fulfillment of the law of God that breaks satan’s legal right and claim to us.  And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. ”  (Heb 9:22, NKJV) When we’ve been washed in the blood of the Lamb, we are forever the possession of God himself.  There is much that could be said here, but that’s another post.

2. The word of their testimony

This is where we can break the power of sin the enemy holds over us.  This is where the rubber meets the road.

Proverbs 18: 20-21 (NKJV)

20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

What we claim – what we speak – is what will fill our stomachs.  Interesting picture as the stomach is essentially where digestion of our physical food begins after we eat.  So it goes with the words we speak.  When we speak words, we listen, we hear, we believe – we digest – those words.  “You are what you eat,” directly applies here!

It’s time to begin confessing the words of life.  Even if it’s not evident yet, speak it.  “I was a hypocrite, but God has helped me overcome.” or “I was an angry man; but God has helped me overcome.”  Speak what God has or is making you.

The word of your testimony is what breaks the power of sin in your life, but only if you’ve been bought by the blood of the Lamb.

1.  Are you legally God’s? This is critical and the first thing.  Without #1, you can’t do #2.

2. What is God helping you overcome in your life? Speak it OUT LOUD! verbalize it!  Hear yourself say it audibly!

Esau: Unable to Repent (Gen 25:29-34)

Gen 25:29-34 (NKJV)

29 Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom.
31 But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.”
32 And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?”
33 Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.”
So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Esau sells his birthright for a bowl of bean soup.

In my western mindset, I’m not sure we understand the significance of this transaction. One of the commentaries I read said: “… that is the rights and privileges of the first-born, which were very important, the chief being that they were the family priest (Ex 4:22) and had a double portion of the inheritance (Deut 21:17).

Doesn’t this sound exactly like American culture today? How many men, fathers, and brothers have sold their birth-right for something so insignificant and temporary as a bowl of bean soup?  How many men are not stepping into their role as the priest of their families?  How many families are not living in the richness of a double blessing from their Heavenly Father?

How do we get our birthright back?

Check out what the writer of Hebrews wrote:

Heb 12:16-17 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

Hang on a minute… Esau was unable to repent even though he “… sought it diligently with tears.

Is there a place we can get to in life – regardless of how broken we are – where we cannot repent, even if we want to?

What is the ramification of that?

Talk to me…

Enoch's Obituary

Genesis 5 is the genealogy of Adam. The first interesting thing to me is that Cain and Abel are not listed, even though they were the first born.   I guess it’s because Abel was murdered and Cain ran off, even though he had sons and daughters.  So Adam’s lineage begins with Seth.  The pattern of the next 20 or so verses is the same.

“FATHER” lived “X” years and begot “SON”. After “SON”, “FATHER” lived “Y” years and had sons and daughters. So all the days of “FATHER” were “X+Y” and he died.

Adam begot Seth. (v3-5)
Seth begot Enosh. (v6-8)
Enosh begot Cainan. (v9-11)
Cainan begot Mahalalel. (v12-14)
Mahalalel begot Jared. (v15-17)
Jared begot Encoh. (v18-20)

Then something changes. Enoch’s “obituary” reads different.

Genesis 5:21-24 (NKJV)
21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. 22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

987 Years after God created Adam, he took Enoch and Enoch did not die, because Enoch walked with God and pleased him.

Hebrews 11:5 speaks of Enoch:
5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

He took him well short of his natural life span for those days.  Adam lived 930 years; Seth lived 815 years; Enosh lived 905 years; Cainan lived 910 years; Mahalalel lived 895 years; Jared lived 962 years; Jared was taken at 365 years.

I bring it up because Enoch’s son, Methuselah, was old enough to see his ancestors living to be very old men and to see his dad taken by God – because he walked with God – and yet Methuselah’s life reads exactly the same as his anscestors. He begat Lamech, had sons and daugthers and died after 969 years.

How quickly a generation forgets the godliness and impact of the preceding ones. This is all the Scripture records about Methuselah.

Or maybe, how lasting an impact the previous generations have on our children, thus the more we have give our children to Him and parent them as He leads us.  I don’t know.

For me, today, I want to be more like Enoch.  I want my impact to go beyond the next generation of my children, but to impact my children’s children’s children for the Lord, and not away from Him.

What does it look like to “walk with God” like Enoch did?  What was the result of those men in the Scriptures who did?  This would be an interesting word study.